Sailing and cycling in Holland: North Sea Islands
8 days / 7 nights | Ship Leafde, Mare and Wapen fan Fryslan | Frisian Sea and island hopping
Sail and bike tours are something very special. Feel the freedom, the wind and salt on your skin! It’s a little bit like discovering the seas and new areas as a modern-day explorer. Aboard one of the most comfortable sailing ships, the Leafde fan Fryslân, the Mare fan Fryslân, and the Wapen fan Fryslân, you will experience pure nature while enjoying water, sun and a stiff breeze on the big inland lake IJsselmeer and the so-called “Wadden Sea”, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage biosphere reserve. During this Sail & Bike tour you can explore the beautiful and unique Frisian Sea and some of its islands.
It is a world with two faces, where sand and water dominate during the changeover from low to high tide and where islands of all sizes line up like pearls on a chain. There are tidal channels, seagrass meadows, mussel beds, sandbanks, mudflats, salt marshes, beaches and dunes. The Frisian Sea is the habitat of marine mammals, such as seals and porpoises, and the breeding ground and wintering area for millions of birds. The area is one of the last remaining large-scale, low-tide ecosystems where natural processes continue to function. Furthermore you will visit the famous (freshwater lake) IJsselmeer and its beautiful coastline with many fishing villages and old trading harbor towns.
Highlights of the tour are the North Sea islands of Texel and Terschelling and their beautiful natural areas, small villages and long sandy beaches that you can explore by bicycle. Highlights on the coasts of the mainland in the provinces of North-Holland and Friesland are a combination of rural areas, small villages and picturesque harbor towns: a true “El Dorado” for cyclists. If you like, on board, you may – instructed by the experienced crew – lend a hand during navigating and raising the sails. Sailing experience is not necessary. But of course you are also very welcome to just relax and
enjoy the sailing and scenery.
The Mare and Wapen fan Fryslân tours start and end on SATURDAY, the tours with the Leafde fan Fryslân start and end on SUNDAY.
Day 1: Arrival and embarkation in Enkhuizen
Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is from 2 p.m. near the beautiful center of Enkhuizen and close to the railway station. After unpacking your
luggage the skipper will join you for an aperitif before giving you a rundown of what to expect on the journey, details about the ship and also about safety measures to be taken on board. In the evening take a stroll through the historical center of Enkhuizen, a quaint town that was the home of the Dutch merchant fleet during the Golden Age of The Netherlands. Enjoy your first night on board in Enkhuizen on the western bank of the lake IJsselmeer.
Day 2: Enkhuizen – Medemblik – Den Oever bike tour (Cycling 24 km/14 mi or 37 km/22 mi) sailing Medemblik – Den Oever – Texel
Today you can cycle the first leg of the trip along the IJsselmeer coast through the beautiful polder landscape to Medemblik. After the cycling tour the ship will sail further to Den Oever. Depending on the weather in the evening the ship will take the lock and sail across the Wadden Sea (part of the North Sea) to the island of Texel.
Day 3: Texel – round tour from/to Oudeschild (Cycling 43 km/26 mi. or 49 km/30 mi.)
The island of Texel is a cyclist’s dream destination with its varied scenery, well signposted cycle tracks and picturesque villages. Our suggestion is to complete a round trip cycling tour of the largest of the Dutch North Sea islands that takes you via a number of villages, the seal sanctuary station “Ecomare” and a traditional beer brewery near the harbor of Oudeschild.
Day 4: Texel – Terschelling (sailing about 5 – 6 hrs.)
Today you will enjoy sailing on your ship, when the tide and the weather are right, to the island of Terschelling. As you sail your way through the sandbanks of the Wadden Sea, keep a lookout for seals on the sandbars. In the afternoon the ship will arrive on Terschelling island, which features a number of picturesque villages situated between the polder and sand dunes along its 30 km expanse. While sailing you will enjoy an extensive lunch on board. No dinner will be served tonight, to enable you to explore the island, but you can make yourself a picnic meal or try one of the nice restaurants at Terschelling (not incl.).
Day 5: Terschelling roundtrip, (cycling distance of your choice) | sailing Terschelling – Harlingen
While the previous day was all about sailing, today is all about cycling. Terschelling has plenty to offer cycle tourists: nature and culture, 70 km of cycling tracks and 4 beautiful villages. West Terschelling is the largest village on the island and features a number of nice shops and pubs. The standout landmark on the island is the 400 year-old lighthouse “Brandaris” that can be seen from well off in the distance. Also worth visiting is the heath land of “Boschplaat” which will captivate you with its mud, beaches and dunes. You might even spot ducks, black-winged stilts, large colonies of spoonbills and great black-backed gulls. After a day of cycling, you can relax in comfort once you have arrived on board. In the late afternoon the ship will cross the Wadden Sea sail to Harlingen, the most important harbor city of the province of Friesland.
Day 6: Harlingen – Franeker – Makkum (cycling 48 km/29 mi. or 58 km/36 mi.)
Via Franeker, with the famous planetarium of Eise Eisinga, you cycle through the beautiful wide Frisian countryside along several rural villages to the small harbor of Makkum on the eastern bank of the lake IJsselmeer. If you take the long cycling trip, you will also visit Bolsward, one of the Eleven Frisian Cities.
Day 7: Makkum - Stavoren (Cycling 32 km/19 mi. or 49 km/30 mi.) | Sailing back to Enkhuizen
From Makkum you will cycle to Stavoren. The short tour leads you via the old trading town of Hindeloopen. This local art of painting – a type of traditional decorative painting – is quite famous. Apart from this you’ll find the First Frisian Museum of Ice Skating in Hindeloopen. The long tour runs along several Frisian lakes and shows you a different type of landscape. From Stavoren the ship will set sail to cross the IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen in the late afternoon.
Day 8: end of the tour in Enkhuizen
End of your tour: Disembarkation after breakfast until 9.30 a.m.
Good to know
Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The planned itinerary is subject to change due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons and other unforeseen circumstances. If there is low or high water and a route cannot be shipped, the captain reserves the right to change the route in view of your safety (this cannot be accepted as a reason for free withdrawal).
The daily bike tours are individual, conducted at your own pace and without a tour leader. There are daily briefings on board and detailed bicycle maps and route notes are available. GPS tracks will be sent to you 4 weeks before the start date of the tour.
During the days when 2 bicycle options are possible, you can make a choice for the longer or the shorter option.
Not all mentioned highlights will be visited during the short bike option. In case you prefer a day of rest, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
On the arrival day is it possible to bring your luggage on board from 11 a.m.
Important observations for the Sail & Bike program
A little bit of adventure is a part of every Sail & Bike tour: the departure and arrival day and the location – Enkhuizen – are a certainty, 100%. For the rest, the planned daily sailing routes are partially dependent on the strength and direction of the winds and – on the Wadden Sea – high and low tide. The skipper decides the best route to be taken day by day, and discusses the options with his guests. The crew does everything in its power to enable the program to run according to plan and to offer you as fascinating, varied and active a week as possible, in which nature and culture play a major part. It is, however, also possible that departure times and the time spent on the water – and even the order of the program itself – may be adjusted. Enjoy the ride and let yourself be led by the elements! Whenever possible, various passages will be undertaken fully rigged and anyone who would like to help the crew to sail and steer the boat is welcome to do so. This is of course absolutely up to you and no sailing experience is necessary.